Tag Archives: Alison Sweeney

Alison Sweeney Feeling Effects of Triple Duty Schedule, but No Slowing Down

Alison Sweeney NBC photo

“The Biggest Loser” is wrapping up shooting for its currently-airing season this week, and host Alison Sweeney admits “I’ve been counting the days” ’til it’s over.  That’s because Alison, a master multi-tasker, has taken on a workload that’s nearly impossible.  There’s “Biggest Loser,” her ongoing starring stint on “Days of Our Lives,” plus the “Hollywood Girls Night” TV Guide Channel show she’s executive producing along with her on-camera chores.

Planning her schedule has been like “a thousand-piece puzzle that only fits together one way.  It’s all been happening at once,” she tells us.  “I try to avoid this, but one time did I have to do all three shows in one day, with the Hollywood Moms coming for dinner.  That was a long day.”

In case you weren’t aware, the Sunday night show, in which she partners with Ali Landry, was inspired by their real-life social circle of celebrity moms, who had fun getting together at each other’s homes and dishing on the industry, men, their kids, men, friends and men.  “We want to keep it all positive, fun and light-hearted, just like it is when we talk to our girlfriends off-camera.  It’s not often you’re in the middle of an outrageous conversation or a catfight.  We behave as we would if we came to someone’s house for dinner,” she says.

Sure.  Not surprisingly, though, the show’s teaser promos stress the spilling of secrets, and such attention-grabbing bits as this week’s guest Kendra Wilkinson talking about building a “sex room” in her home with hubby Hank Baskett.  “Kendra is a highlight — the way she opens up about her married life, her background, what her life has been like as a Playmate, how she’s comfortable with her body,” Alison says.  “She had great stuff.  I kept asking her questions.  I HAD to know more.”  Robin Givens is also on this week’s show.  Future shows include Brooke Burns and champion dancer Cheryl Burke.

Alison brushes off reports that she and Landry annoyed their real-life friends by going off on their own to sell the show last year.  “Obviously, I just think there’s a lot of misinformation out there,” she says.  “It’s a wonderful show, really positive, and most important for us, it’s celebrating our friendships.”

The busy actress-host-producer-director also has her husband and two small children at home.  Finding family time “is definitely a big piece of the puzzle,” she says.

She credits nutrition and exercise tips she’s picked up through her years on “The Biggest Loser” for the fact she has the energy for all this.  “These are tools you can use for your whole life, not just when you’re losing weight,” she points out.  And…are you ready?…she’s also training for the L.A. Marathon March 18.

‘Tis the Season for Celebrity Gatherings

Phyllis Diller, Richard Lewis at Encore's party for 'Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis' Starz photo

‘Tis the season for celebrity schmoozing at Ho-Ho-Hollywood parties.  Such as…

Peter Krause, Lauren Graham and super producer Mark Burnett were among the luminaries on hand at the warm and beautiful holiday soiree the other night at the exquisite Hancock Park Tudor manse of NBC Chieftain Robert Greenblatt.  The stars schmoozed to the sexy sounds of a sax-led combo, and feasted on holiday fare, from roast turkey and veggies to an array of desserts including candy-coated cream puffs made into a tree. 

Standing next to Jay Leno at one of the buffets, we couldn’t help but see that the “Tonight Show” host had a plate piled high — noticeably high — with prime rib.  Alison Sweeney looked gorgeous with her new bangs.  She was wearing a shimmery dark blue mini dress and leggings.  Jason Isaacs made the scene; his risky “Awake” dual reality drama is among the NBC midseason shows getting early buzz.  The Broadway behind-the-scenes “Smash” is another.  As you may know, Greenblatt, formerly of Showtime, is in the midst of working to get the peacock network back on a proud course.  We’ll see if he feels like celebrating a year from now.

NBC party was Prime rib Time for Jay Leno NBC photo

 Over at the Paramount Studios lot in Hollywood, it was Jerry Lewis and friends partying up the Encore original documentary “Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis” that premieres Dec. 17.   On hand for the comedy-lovers’  fete were Starz President & CEO Chris Albrecht  and the film’s director/producer Gregg Barson, along with Woody Harrelson, Richard Lewis, Dane Cook, John Landis, John Henson, Rip Taylor, Jill Jacobsen,  Renee Taylor, Norm Crosby, Carl Reiner, Garrett Morris, Robbie Williams and others.  Jeff Goldblum and his band, The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, serenaded the filled room during the after-party.  But we hear from sources on the scene that it was the 94-years-young Phyllis Diller who was one of the last to leave.  She was enjoying herself, taking pictures with fans. 

 

Alison Sweeney Defends Anna Kournikova

Alison Sweeney

News of Anna Kournikova leaving “The Biggest Loser” after one season was accompanied by anonymous quotes that the tennis champ clashed with show staff and some of the contestants, and calling her “difficult” and “a nightmare.”   “Biggest Loser” host Alison Sweeney is quick to leap to her defense, telling us, “I didn’t have that experience.  I got to know her a little bit, and I thought she was a great addition.  She’s so sweet.”

Sweeney reports that they’re already six weeks into shooting Season 13 of “Biggest Loser” and that Kournikova hasn’t been replaced.  Instead, the trainer she calls a “super talented competitor” — show stalwart Bob Harper — is “going head to head in the competition” with plucky newcomer, trainer to the stars Dolvett Quince.

Tonight’s (12/6) “Biggest Loser” episode includes the Season 12 marathon, giving one previously-ousted contestant a chance to vie for the championship on next Tuesday’s (12/13) live season finale.  “‘The Biggest Loser’ finale is such an exciting show, such a fun show, such a celebration of what the show is all about and what people have achieved,” says Alison, who keeps those specials moving along at a quick clip. 

MEANWHILE:  As if handling the demands of two different “Biggest Loser” seasons at once wasn’t enough, there’s also her day job.  Sweeney, who has played the role of much-married bad girl Sami Brady on “Days of Our Lives” since her teens, admits it’s feeling pretty lonely lately, with nearly all the other daytime dramas either being retired or already gone.

“I miss the other soaps.  It’s really hard to say goodbye.  I know they have a lot of followers,” she says.  “I just hope we can keep ‘Days of Our Lives’ on the up and up and hold onto the fans.  There are so many different issues at play with the ratings.  You know how complicated daytime is.”

With her popular “The Mommy Diet” book (it comes out in paperback Dec. 13) and her new TV Guide Network “Hollywood Moms’ Club” show that she’s producing, one might wonder whether she’s getting ready for “Days” to come to an end.  But Sweeney tends to always have a lot of irons in the fire.

“I’m always looking for a new challenges, new fun things to do.  I hope that ‘Days’ goes on for another 46 years.  I’ve been so blessed to do the show,” she says.

She and her husband, highway patrolman David Sanov, have a six-year-old son and a daughter who turns three in January.  Asked whether things have gotten any easier as the children have gotten bigger, she answers, “I think the mommy guilt starts to ease off a little bit once they’re in school and have their own friends and their own plans.  I’m happy now that they’re a little older, they can come with me when I travel.”   

Are they likely to go into show business or law enforcement?  She laughs.  “My husband and I just hope they follow their dreams, like we did.”

Alison Sweeney Adds New Activities to Hectic Life, Including Getting Your Pet Fit

Alison Sweeney, Bob Harper, Jillian Michaels NBC photo by Mitchell Haaseth

Alison Sweeney doesn’t sound terribly enthusiastic about the two new trainers on “The Biggest Loser” this season.  Asked how she feels about the male-female duo so far, she demonstrates a side-stepping capability that ranks up there with the most seasoned politicians:

“They’re certainly different, but I was a new person at one time myself,” points out the “Biggest Loser” hostess and “Days of Our Lives” daytime TV star.   She also says, “I think the show is as strong as ever.  ‘The Biggest Loser’ is all about change and people getting their lives back.  I think we’ll see how the fans feel about what they’re seeing as it all unfolds.”

Does she like the two newcomers who are competing against popular trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels this season?

Her answer:  “They’re amazing trainers.  They certainly have an important contribution to make.”

Viewers should not expect to get a big reveal all at once about the new trainers, either.  They’re being kept mysterious.  Sweeney is doing her part.

She laughs.  “I’ve been on a soap opera a long time.  I know how to keep a secret.”  In fact, she won’t even say how much chance she’s had to get to know the pair herself.

“Every week they’re going to show a little more.  I can’t speak for the producers, but I think the idea is for viewers to see the effects of the work they put in.  They wanted America to see what they do before really seeing who they are.  I can tell you for sure that the contestants who went to train with them love them and are passionately enthusiastic about the choice they made to go with them.”

A few weeks ago, Michaels announced that she would be leaving the show at season’s end in hopes of focusing on motherhood as she wants to adopt a baby.  Sweeney notes, “As long as she’s a part of ‘Biggest Loser,’ we’re lucky to have her.  Even last week at the weigh in, I was so moved by her passion.  I know whatever road Jillian takes she’s going to be successful and put her whole heart into it.”

As far as her own feelings about changes on the show, Sweeney says, “It’s just one of those things.  These things are going to happen.  It’s like the contestants’ journeys.  At a certain point there are going to be extraneous factors you can’t control, but you can’t let that keep you from doing what you need to do.”

MEANWHILE:  Sweeney has been living the life of a master multi-tasker for years now, what with her prime time and daytime shows, plus her toddler son and daughter and her husband at home.  This year, she adds to her activities list with her “The Mommy Diet” book, and stumping for the Hill’s Science Diet for pets and its current Million Dollar PetFit challenge.  Fur real!

Her own beloved family dog, fivish-year-old rescued Boston Terrier, Winkie, inspired her involvement.  “There are crazy statistics out there about overweight dogs.  You start to say the words and realize it’s the exact same mistakes people make with their children; they associate food with comfort and love.  But being overweight really does impact the health of the pet.  They’re going to be in pain, they’re going to have low energy, it will impact their longevity.  Our vet made it clear a fitness program is vital to keep your pet healthy.”

Speaking of fitness, how are the current crop of “Biggest Loser” contestants doing, deep into filming of the season that just started to air last week?

“They’re amazing,” she says.  “The weight loss is spectacular — they’re definitely meeting and exceeding the standards.  We had people getting whistles on the catwalk because of how great they look.  You would say, ‘That person doesn’t belong on a weight loss show.'”

We’ll see.

‘Fame’s’ Debbie Allen: We’re in a War to Save Arts Education

Debbie Allen is hoping that the new “Fame” feature that opens Friday (9/25) will do more than entertain – it will serve as a reminder of the importance of arts education at a time when “the money dries up right and left.

Debbie Allen

Debbie Allen

“We have a war going on,” declares the dance great.  “Where is the money for the arts?  There is no money, but the arts should be one of the last things to be cut.  We need the arts to initiate, to create, to have a voice.  The performing arts are one of the best ways to connect people.  It’s character education.”

 Allen is in the new “Fame” – making her the only performer to appear in the hit 1980 film, its spin-off TV series, and the new movie.  Her character may be named Principal Simms, but to Debbie, she’s playing the same fiercely dedicated teacher she’s played all along.  “After all this time, I am the same character.  Lydia Grant is married – this is her married name,” she says with a laugh. “That’s how the world is going to know her.  I’ve never left it.” 

 Indeed, she carried Lydia Grant into her own life, founding her immensely successful Debbie Allen Dance Academy that’s already seen students hitting the big time, including her daughter, Vivian Nixon, of Broadway’s “Hot Feet” — and “So You Think You Can Dance” contestant William Wingfield.  She’s had other dancers and choreographers land work on stage and screen – including “Fame.”

 “A few of my students are in it.  One of my right hands – Marguerite Derricks – choreographed it.  When I saw it, I just beamed and gushed about how wonderful her work is,” she recounts.

 Debbie herself recently choreographed and directed Mariah Carey’s big new Las Vegas show.  Now, besides her ongoing activities presiding over the school, she is getting ready to direct the London production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” that she directed on Broadway last year – starring her sister Phylicia Rashad and Sanaa Lathan.    

 SO GOOD IT’S BAD:  “I appreciate that people are taking better care of themselves, but I’m like your dirty secret,” says Blythe Beck, who is starring in her own Oxygen reality series “The Naughty Kitchen With Chef Blythe Beck,” debuting today (9/22).

 “I am the naughty chef.  I call my food sexy new American – food you ate growing up but I make it naughty.  I’m all about beer, butter, pork fat, and loving on your food.  The more love you give to it, the naughtier it is,” claims the sassy chef, who runs the Dallas restaurant Central 214.  “You wouldn’t eat this food every single day, but you come to me when you want to celebrate the good times or be comforted in the bad times.  I just want people to come in my restaurant and let me love on them for a little while.” 

Despite so many cooking shows on television at the moment, Beck claims her show is different.  “My show is not just about cooking.  It’s more of following me around as a chef.  My life alone has been like a television show with the ups and downs of working in this field, and now it actually is one,” she adds with a laugh.  “I’m just blessed that cooking is the gift God gave me.  It’s the best gift ever.” 

Adam Hicks

Adam Hicks

YOUNG STAR ON THE RISE:  Adam Hicks, Luther Waffles to fans of  “Zeke & Luther,”  is resting up a bit between his and fellow star Hutch Dano’s just-finished promotional sweep of Europe and the start of second season production of their popular Disney XD show.

 “It was amazing!  Everything was a new experience.  Hutch and I are open to all these new things all the time.  I had a blast,” he says.  “I got to see the Eiffel Tower; I’d always wanted to see the Eiffel Tower.  I loved Germany…”  And he got recognized in Paris, he reports.

 Did he and Hutch ever get on each other’s nerves?  “We never really did.  We have a good relationship.  We balance each other out,” he says.  “We’re constantly working together, so that’s great.”

 Hicks, who starred in the big screen “How to Eat Fried Worms” and has a sizeable list of TV and movie credits,  recalls feeling “a different vibe” about “Zeke and Luther” than anything he’d done previously.  “It was more fast-paced, fast cut — a lot of outrageous comedy with us skateboarding down the streets and stuff like that.  I wondered if people would be open to this new flavor of comedy.”

 They were.  Now the amiable red-haired 17-year-old is getting used to being asked questions about what makes a good kiss and such by the teen magazines.  He seems to be taking it all in stride.  “I’m open to answering a lot of the questions.  I’ll give you my best advice,” he says.

FEELING GOOD:  “The Biggest Loser” host Alison Sweeney admits to pangs of jealousy over her husband’s ability to eat just about anything without putting on weight.  “He’s so thin,” she says of her mate, California Highway Patrolman David Sanov.  But it’s not as if he gets a free ride as far as staying in shape, she points out.  “He works out.  It’s interesting.  You learn it’s not just about how many pounds you see on the scale — it’s about what’s going on on the inside, too.  So it’s about what you put into your body and maintaining your health and fitness.” 

 With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster